Information About Skin Cancer Melanoma
Skin cancer in the simplest terms describes a growth of
cancerous cell on the epidermis. However cancer of the skin can fall
into three categories, basal, squamous and melanoma.
The latter, melanoma,
generally proves the most difficult form to treat and overcome as it
is invariably malignant. Melanoma manifests itself when the cells that
affect the skin color, known as melanocytes, become cancerous. Generally
found in the lower surface layers of the epidermis, melanocytes role
is to produce the pigments that go to color the skin. What is known
as sunburn or a tan.
Researchers state that
melanoma can occur on the skin surface as a result of a number of contributory
UV radiation altering
the DNA of melanocytes is generally regarded to be the most common reason.
Melanoma usually presents it in the areas of skin which have been most
exposed to the sun. In males this can be range form the shoulders to
the hips and with females, the disease tends to figure first on their
arms and legs.
While skin cancer can
never be described as hereditary, fairer skinned people are certainly
more susceptible to it. People who have unusual moles on their skin
should ensure that they are not exposed to too much sunlight
In all the forms of skin
cancer, if the disease and discovered and treated while it still lives
on the surface of the skin, then it is eminently treatable, and recovery
rates are very high. With melanoma skin cancer, the disease can spread
rapidly into the blood stream and lymph nodes. Once the cancer has begun
to spread through the body then treating the disease will require to
be very aggressive.
Melanoma can be classified
in four ascending stages each denoting the severity of the skin cancer.
The severity of the cancer is according to the thickness of the melanoma
and how far it has spread. Depending on which stage the melanoma has
progressed, the treating doctors will be to determine the best type
Early stages can be cured by a simple form of surgery. Known as curettage, (surgery to remove tissue or growths by scraping with a curette) the doctor will simply remove the cancerous tissue or growths by using a form of scalpel known as a curette.
If the melanoma has spread further the treating doctor will decide on a more invasive form of surgery, or radiation treatment to clear away the cancerous cells.
The surgery will invariably involve a course of chemotherapy treatment to insure that any cancerous cells still in the blood stream be destroyed.
Any person who lives in fear of cancer also lives
in fear of the treatment. Chemotherapy brings with it some fairly tough
side effects, and a long, unrelenting and difficult treatment regime.
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